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New local newspaper launches with Boris Johnson’s backing

Rachel SharpA new local newspaper that aims to become “self-sustaining” has been launched to serve Boris Johnson’s constituency – and will feature the Prime Minister as a regular columnist.

Brunel University has announced the launch of the Hillingdon Herald, which will cover the London Borough of Hillingdon, with an initial print run of 10,000.

The university will fund the paper’s first edition, but it is hoped that in future it will be “self-sustaining” and funded through advertising.

It will be edited by Brunel senior journalism lecturer Rachel Sharp, a former group editor for seven of Newsquest’s London papers.

The monthly title, which will be written and produced by Brunel journalism students, will also feature columns from both Mr Johnson and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is also an MP on its patch.

Rachel, pictured, said: “The paper aims to be a love letter to traditional print journalism.

“Local newspapers are so important, and sadly many of them have fallen by the wayside over the past few years.

“This will be a traditional local community newspaper, covering local events and news, but also events and stories from the wider London area, and international news that we know will be of interest to our diverse community.”

She added: “We are all really excited about the launch. Our international journalism masters students have been working around the clock over the summer to help us prepare for the launch, and all year groups on our undergraduate degrees and masters degrees will be working on this venture.”

The paper will be published for the first time on Monday and an accompanying website will feature daily updates.

In his debut column for the Herald, Mr Johnson wrote: “While it is no secret that local media is facing significant challenges from changing news consumption habits, throughout the pandemic our local and regional newspapers have proved indispensable in bringing communities together and keeping residents reliably informed.

“I am pleased to be able to support and contribute to this new venture led by journalism students at Brunel University and very much hope it can provide a useful source of local news to residents across the borough.”